Judge To Look Into Why Tenants Are Not Prosecuted For Criminal Damage & Theft

Judge To Look Into Why Tenants Are Not Prosecuted For Criminal Damage & Theft

10:46 AM, 12th October 2016, About 5 years ago 164

Text Size

On my flight from Malta to Heathrow last week I had the pleasure of sitting next to a gentleman who was a Judge and also worked for the Ministry of Justice to review the Court system.

We got talking about criminal damage so I asked him how many tenants he had fined or imprisoned for criminal damage to a landlords property during his career as a Judge.

He went quiet for a while, clearly deep in thought, but then had to admit that such a case had never been brought before him. Being naturally inquisitive I asked him why he thought that might be.

He had no answer.

The point I made was that if I were to smash his doors, windows, garage door etc. I would expect to be prosecuted. He agreed.

He also agreed that criminal damage is criminal damage regardless of whether the person committing the crime is a tenant of a landlord or not. We then went on to discuss theft of property from a landlords property by a tenant.

When I explained to him that Police and CPS regularly brush off theft from a landlord or criminal damage caused by a tenant as a “civil matter” he was clearly concerned and accepted that when tenants do commit such crimes they should be prosecuted. I’m not convinced he appreciates the scale of the problem though so I am asking you to provide some examples in the comments section below. I have the Judge’s contact details and he will be signed up to receive notification emails linking to your comments.

If he is true to his word (I have no reason to doubt that he won’t be) then our chance meeting could well prove to be a very useful one in terms of my quest for justice for landlords.


by Paul Franklin

15:04 PM, 14th October 2016, About 5 years ago

Reply to the comment left by "Joel Davis" at "14/10/2016 - 13:09":

Whilst I do not agree with everything that Joel says I do agree that landlords choosing to let property to that demographic (DSS tenants), as per many of the examples in this thread, understand that there are risks involved. Hence why many landlords will not entertain the idea of renting to DSS tenants in the first place. Which is a shame for the majority (i guess?) that are good, respectful tenants?

That said, this does not make it ok for tenants to 'get away with' vandalism, criminal damage, willful neglect, whatever you want to call it. There should rightly be consequences to such actions.

I don't know about setting up a charity, I think there are enough going already if you were minded to be involved.

However, with regard to the point Luke P makes, I do hope that landlords that come across such tenants report where necessary to children's services where there are children involved around such violence or filth for instance. I think we have a responsibility to do that as we often see/have access to things that are hidden from such services. In my experience such reports are taken seriously, albeit by an under-resourced social services.

by MoodyMolls

15:34 PM, 14th October 2016, About 5 years ago

Reply to the comment left by "Robert Mellors" at "14/10/2016 - 08:55":

Yes I agree as an asolute min we should be able to have third party deductions. But when the damage is in the thousands £3pw a week deduction will not deter them.

I got a CCJ against one tenant I get £10 per month for 7years

by Robert Mellors

15:35 PM, 14th October 2016, About 5 years ago

Reply to the comment left by "Joel Davis" at "14/10/2016 - 13:09":

Hi Joel

Can you tell us more about the BTR schemes, as when I googled this the only information was about it being a scheme to assist with temporary financing of new build properties, e.g. bridging finance, it did not say anything about providing (or funding) supported accommodation for high risk vulnerable tenants. - Indeed, it is my understanding that funding for supported accommodation is soon to be cut under the "LHA Maxima" policy.

by Joel Davis

16:12 PM, 14th October 2016, About 5 years ago


Is this the same thing you read? TBH, I have not done much research but I did see headlines a while back about big subsidies and incentives. BTR get finance subsidies while small LL get finance penalties.

I have seen nothing about BTR being for social housing which I why there needs to be a discussion and lobbying to make sure that if state aid is provided for BTR, then BTR must provide social housing. BTR should be ideal for the most difficult Ts.

I'm afraid this is going too far off thread, so I will not post any more on this topic.

by Mark Alexander

18:07 PM, 14th October 2016, About 5 years ago

My understanding is that Government incentives for large corporate landlords, developers and investments groups to create more private housing will all be used to build for the middle class market. I have not heard of one company yet pledging to build housing with a view to taking on benefits claimants or people with mental illnesses. Most Housing Associations now refuse to provide housing to this sector of society too.

As controversial as it might be, my personal opinion is that anybody who is sufficiently mentally unstable to habitually smash up properties without being responsible for their actions should live in properly controlled sheltered accommodation until they have proven themselves to be capable of living in normal society. Care in the community has a lot to answer for!

The best thing private landlords can do to protect themselves is to AVOID letting to any tenants where the prospects of recovering rental arrears or money for damages are doubtful, or indeed where there is any history of breach of tenancy.

Professional referencing, rent guarantee insurance and building/contents insurance for malicious damage caused by tenants is highly recommended.

With demand at current high levels, particularly in the more affluent South of the country, there is no logical reason I am aware of for landlords to take undue risks.

If they want to be charitable then work with and/or donate to an appropriate charity which is suitably resourced.

by Robert Mellors

21:20 PM, 14th October 2016, About 5 years ago

Reply to the comment left by "Mark Alexander" at "14/10/2016 - 18:07":

Hi Mark

That is all very well for landlords in the South East, but there are still pockets of the country where properties are hard to let, and for landlords with properties in those areas they often do not have the luxury of cherry picking the best tenants. I have some properties that are hard to let simply because of there location, they are great properties, good size, with gardens front and rear and at low rents (LHA rates) but I still cannot find the sort of tenants that you advocate letting to, so sometimes I have to take a risk and let to tenants who are less than desirable. Sometimes this works okay, but sometimes it results in damage and/or rent arrears. Is it better to have a property stood empty for months/years, or to take the gamble and let to a high risk tenant? I choose to let to the high risk tenant rather than leave the house empty, but that does not mean that I deserve to have it damaged.

by Mark Alexander

23:17 PM, 14th October 2016, About 5 years ago

Reply to the comment left by "Robert Mellors" at "14/10/2016 - 21:20":

Hi Robert

I would rather reduce the price and find the right tenant than take potential very expensive risks. At the right price I'm sure the right tenant with the right credentials, or a guarantor with the right credentials, is out there, especially if the property is well presented.

by MoodyMolls

10:39 AM, 15th October 2016, About 5 years ago

A few years back the LHA rent was higher than the market rent in my area so the damage was covered by the increased rents achieved. You also had the benefit paid direct and it was very rarly stopped.

Now the rents are below market rent on a 2 bed c 100-150 the benefits are stopped all the time and some tenants will not return paperwork. Benefits get paid to tenants ,. Over the last 4years rent and damage has escalated I have been in court numerous times in this period before once .

many jobs are low paid and the tenants get topups this is also being removed for some or lowered especailly when the children become adults and are working . Many now rec no housing benefit here and the children are expected to pay the rent .

by Mandy Thomson

13:39 PM, 15th October 2016, About 5 years ago

I was about to respond that (from a legal perspective) it's surely the tenant's property while the tenancy is in place (just as an owner occupier's home is his property when it is subject to a superior interest), but then I found this: Criminal Damage Act 1971 Section 10(2) "Meaning of Belonging to Another.... if a person sets fire to his own house which is subject to a mortgage, he can still be charged under Section 1(1) and (3) as the mortgagor will have a proprietary right or interest in the property." See http://www.cps.gov.uk/legal/a_to_c/criminal_damage/

by David Price

13:51 PM, 15th October 2016, About 5 years ago

Definition of criminal damage.

A person who without lawful excuse destroys or damages any property belonging to another intending to destroy or damage any such property or being reckless as to whether any such property would be destroyed or damaged shall be guilty of an offence.

There is no mention of whether or not there is any kind of contract in place.

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 17

Leave Comments

Please Log-In OR Become a member to reply to comments or subscribe to new comment notifications.

Forgotten your password?